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Desflurane Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of desflurane include: apnea, breath-holding, cough, and laryngospasm. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to desflurane: inhalation liquid, inhalation solution

Along with its needed effects, desflurane may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking desflurane:

More Common

  • Bluish lips or skin
  • body aches or pain
  • congestion
  • cough
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • fever
  • hoarseness
  • not breathing
  • runny nose
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble breathing
  • trouble swallowing
  • voice changes

Less Common

  • Blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • dizziness
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • headache
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • nervousness
  • pounding in the ears
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • unusual tiredness


  • Dark urine
  • difficulty with moving
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • joint pain
  • light-colored stools
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • noisy breathing
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • sweating
  • swollen joints
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • yellow eyes and skin

Incidence Not Known

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • decreased urine
  • dry mouth
  • increased thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • stopping of heart
  • unconsciousness
  • weakness or heaviness of the legs

Some side effects of desflurane may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less Common

  • Increased watering of the mouth
  • redness of the white part of the eyes or inside of the eyelids


  • Anxiety
  • hyperventilation
  • irritability
  • itching skin
  • restlessness
  • shaking
  • trouble sleeping

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to desflurane: inhalation liquid


Respiratory side effects including coughing (34%), breathholding (up to 30%), apnea (15%), increased secretions, laryngospasm, oxyhemoglobin desaturation, pharyngitis, increased cough, dyspnea, respiratory arrest, respiratory failure, respiratory distress, bronchospasm, hemoptysis, and hypoxia have been reported.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea (27%), vomiting (16%), acute pancreatitis, and abdominal pain have been reported.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects including bradycardia, hypertension, nodal arrhythmia, tachycardia, arrhythmia, bigeminy, abnormal electrocardiogram, myocardial ischemia, vasodilation, hemorrhage, cardiac arrest, Torsade de pointes, ventricular failure, ventricular hypokinesia, malignant hypertension, hypotension,

and myocardial infarct have been reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including increased salivation, agitation, convulsion, and dizziness have been reported.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects including hepatitis, hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, cytolytic hepatitis, cholestasis, jaundice, abnormal hepatic function, liver disorder, increased transaminases, increased alanine aminotransferase, and increased aspartate aminotransferase

have been reported.


General side effects including shock, malignant hyperthermia, asthenia, malaise, headache, and fever have been reported.[Ref]


Ocular side effects including conjunctivitis (conjunctival hyperemia) and ocular icterus have been reported.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects including hyperkalemia, hypokalemia, metabolic acidosis, and increased creatinine phosphokinase have been reported.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects including myalgia and rhabdomyolysis have been reported.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including urticaria, erythema, and pruritus have been reported.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects including coagulopathy have been reported.


1. "Product Information. Suprane (desflurane)." Baxter Pharmaceutical Products, Inc, New Providence, NJ.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.